Entries in Conrad Murray (43)


Michael Jackson Trial: Doctor ‘Not Equipped to Revive Him,’ Expert Says

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A nationally known anesthesiologist testified Wednesday that singer Michael Jackson died because he stopped breathing and his doctor was not equipped to revive him.

“The single most important thing in anesthesia is moving air and oxygen into the lungs,” said Dr. Stephen Shafer of Columbia University in New York.

Shafer was the last witness for the prosecution in the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter case in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Shafer testified without charging his normal fee because he said the public needed to know that propofol is only deadly if misused in an improper setting.

“Everyday in the operating room, I get the question, 'Am I going to get the drug that killed Michael Jackson?' This is not a fear they need to have,” said Shafer. ”When these drugs are given by people who know what they’re doing, they have nothing to fear.”

The jury was shown a video entitled ”An Overview of Safe Administration of Propofol,” which demonstrated the elaborate equipment and personnel used when the anesthetic propofol is administered for surgery.

The demonstration showed how a propofol injection pump is set up and used safely in an operating room setting.

Shafer highlighted how a proper anesthesiologist prepares for propofol use: by having many emergency medical devices on hand, an extensive informed consent process, and copious medical note-taking.

The video featured examples of what happens when things go wrong in surgery -- and how those emergencies are dealt with.

If a patient stops breathing, the anesthesiologist tilts the head to open the airway.

If the cessation of breathing is prolonged, then a mask is put on the patient’s face and air is forced into the lungs.

If the patient goes into cardiac arrest, Shafer said the first thing that an anesthesiologist does is “call for help!” “You’re gonna need it,” Dr. Shafer explained, “and you’re gonna need it now.”

Conrad Murray has been described by prosecutors as criminally, grossly negligent because he administered the dangerous anesthetic without proper equipment and backup personnel and did not immediately call 911.

Instead Murray launched into what prosecutors say was inappropriate and ineffective CPR.

Shafer testified that the amount of propofol Murray ordered to treat his one and only patient at the patient’s home was “an extraordinary amount” -- 15.5 liters, or 4.09 gallons.

If convicted, Murray could face four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Conrad Murray Trial Resumes Wednesday with Final Prosecution Witness

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- After a delay of a couple of days, Conrad Murray's trial resumes Wednesday in Los Angeles with testimony from propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer.

Shafer is the prosecution's final witness, and he will wrap up his testimony either Wednesday or Thursday.

The defense will begin its case Friday, saying it will call a total of 15 witnesses before resting its case next Wednesday.

Murray is accused of giving Michael Jackson a fatal dose of propofol, a powerful anesthetic.  He has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Conrad Murray Trial Could Resume Wednesday

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Conrad Murray's trial is tentatively scheduled to resume Wednesday.

The defense said it wanted more time to analyze new testing conducted recently by Los Angeles County coroner's officials regarding the level of the sedative lorazepam in Michael Jackson's system at the time of his death.

The defense has theorized that Jackson swallowed eight lorazepam pills, though the coroner's tests indicate that the levels of lorazepam in his system were low.

Murray, who's accused of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the pop icon's death in June of 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michael Jackson Death Trial: Prosecutors Call Final Witness

Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Prosecutors in the Conrad Murray trial called their final witness Thursday, an expert on anesthesiology who is expected to tell jurors that Michael Jackson's personal physician should have never given the singer propofol.

Jackson died at 50 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol. Murray has admitted to giving the singer the anesthesia on June 25, 2009 and said that the singer begged for his "milk," the nickname he'd given for the creamy drug. The doctor could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The trial recessed early Thursday and the testimony of anesthesiologist Dr. Steven Shafer will resume Monday.

Before court adjourned, Shafer described the importance of precisely administering propofol to a patient so they don't overdose and can wake up quickly after receiving the drug.

Several experts have testified that Murray was grossly negligent in his care of Jackson and that he did not have a precise way of measuring the propofol he gave the singer.

At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing for a grueling comeback tour and was receiving frequent IVs to rehydrate.

Murray's defense team claims that Jackson gave himself a lethal dose of propofol and the sedative lorazepam on the day he died. They previously claimed the singer swallowed propofol in the two minutes Murray claims he left the singer to use the bathroom. On Wednesday, they back pedaled from that argument, saying that Jackson injected the drug into himself.

Several expert witnesses have testified how difficult it would be for an already drugged Jackson to inject himself with the anesthetic in two minutes. Even if Jackson did self-administer the drug, experts testified that Murray is still responsible for the singer's death.

In a hospital setting, propofol would be locked away from a patient so they couldn't access it, something Murray didn't do.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michael Jackson Autopsy Photo Shown in Doctor's Manslaughter Trial

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A photo of a dead Michael Jackson was shown in court Tuesday while the doctor who performed an autopsy on the singer told jurors that it would have been nearly impossible for Jackson to have given himself a lethal dose of drugs.

"The circumstances from my point of view do not support self administration of propofol," said Los Angeles Deputy Medical Examiner Christopher Rogers.

Jackson died of a drug overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009 after rehearsing for his comeback tour.  Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, could face four years of prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death.

Rogers appeared to challenge the defense's theory that Jackson gave himself a lethal dose of drugs in the two minute time period that Murray claims he was away from Jackson in a nearby bathroom.

"In order for Mr. Jackson to administer the propofol to himself, you have to believe that he... woke up, although he was at least to some extent under the influence of other sedatives, he was able to administer propofol to himself," Rogers said.

Even if a drowsy, drugged Jackson was able to self-administer the propofol, Rogers said it still takes time for the drug to circulate throughout the body and for that all to happen in a two minute period would be difficult.

Jackson's propofol was being administered by IV drip into his leg.  Rogers said that there was no white fluid resembling propofol in Jackson's throat, esophagus or stomach, debunking the possibility that the singer could have taken the propofol orally without Murray's knowledge.

During opening statements, Murray's defense attorney Ed Chernoff told jurors that Jackson gave himself a dose of propofol and the sedative lorazepam creating a "perfect storm" that killed the singer instantly.

Rogers said that Jackson's death is a homicide and that he died of acute propofol intoxication with a contributing effect from two sedatives also found in Jackson's system: lorazepam and midazolam.

In rejecting the defense's argument that Jackson took the drug without his doctor's knowledge, Rogers indicated that it was more likely that Murray accidentally overdosed Jackson.

"The ultimate scenario would be in order to keep Mr. Jackson asleep, the doctor has to give a little bit [of propofol] from time to time, which in this case is going to add up to two or three tablespoons per hour to keep him asleep," Rogers said.  "Now we did not find any precision dosing device which means that essentially the doctor would be estimating how much propofol he was giving to come up with two to three tablespoons per hour, and I think it would be easy to estimate wrong and give too much propfol."

In addition to the potentially damning testimony about Jackson's mode of death, Rogers revealed details about the pop icon's health issues at the time he died.  Rogers said that Jackson's overall health was good.  While he was extremely thin at only 136 pounds, his Body Mass Index was still in the normal range and his heart was in good shape.

The 50-year-old singer was suffering from an enlarged prostate and vitiligo, Rogers said.  Jackson had some chronic inflammation and swelling in his lungs as well as arthritis and a polyp on his colon.  The King of Pop also had an extra rib, the medical examiner noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Conrad Murray Trial: How Damaging Are the Interrogation Tapes?

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- For the first time, jurors in the Michael Jackson death case this week heard the tapes of Dr. Conrad Murray telling police his version of events from the night Jackson died.

The calm, methodical interview had never been played publicly and gave Jackson fans a chance to hear Murray's account of the singer's final moments alive.

Murray told police that Michael Jackson fell into a cardiac arrest when he left the singer briefly to go to the bathroom, and he didn't call 911 immediately because "to speak to a 911 operator would be to neglect" the singer.

Former prosecutor Ricki Klieman analyzed the impact of the interrogation tapes.

"On the defense side, it probably actually was a good day, because the prosecution has tried to paint him as a philandering older doctor who cared more about all of his girlfriends and didn't really care about his patients except for celebrities. Here he sounds reasonable, cautious, concerned, caring for his patients step by step," she said.

"The other side from the prosecution's point of view, it's a banner day, because not only do we have Conrad Murray saying that he administered propofol as well as all of the other tranquilizers that are in Michael Jackson's system, but he is fixed in his timeline, and his timeline is directly contradicted by all of those cell phone calls."

She said hearing Michael Jackson begging for the drug propofol helps Murray.

"Michael Jackson is begging for it, but is Murray the doctor or is he the supplier? Who is in charge?"

Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death. The interview occurred on June 27, 2009 at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, Calif., where Murray's attorneys were staying.

"I love Mr. Jackson," Murray said. "He was my friend and he opened up to me in different ways, and I wanted to help him as much as I can. He was a single parent. ... I always thought about his children.

"I wanted to give him the best chance," said Murray of his efforts to save the singer.

In the tapes, which were played for jurors Friday, Murray, at times, described his friend as a chemically addicted man who had a deep "pharmacological knowledge." He told police Jackson's veins were "dried up" like an old man's, making it difficult to find sites to inject an IV.

Of Jackson's health, he said that the singer was "very thin," had trouble with his right hip and suffered from a toe fungus.

Murray said that when Jackson asked him to be his personal physician, accompanying him on his comeback tour dubbed "This Is It," he had no idea that he would spend six nights a week administering the powerful anesthetic, propofol, to the singer.

"That was not my purpose of joining his team," Murray told police. "I was there to help him, and I was going to be available should something go wrong.

"What I was recognizing was Michael Jackson might have had a dependency to a substance," Murray added. "I was trying to wean him off."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fingerprint, Toxicology Report Used to Attack Conrad Murray Defense

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Prosecutors in the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial have introduced forensic evidence including fingerprint evidence and his former patient Michael Jackson's toxicology report to attack the defense's claims that the performer killed himself.

Friday, more testimony about the drugs found in Jackson's body is expected along with the playing of a two hour police interview done with Dr. Murray after the singer died on June 25, 2009.

On Thursday, a Los Angeles County toxicologist detailed the drugs found in the King of Pop's body at the time he died. Propofol, the powerful anesthetic that Jackson overdosed on, was found in both his stomach contents and his blood.

Jackson died at age 50 after a night of rehearsing for his comeback tour, This Is It. He came home the night before, threw his black jacket on the bathroom floor and tried to sleep. Prosecutors claim that Murray recklessly administered propofol and other drugs to the singer to help him sleep and failed to properly monitor Jackson while he was under the influence of the drugs.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said in opening statements that Jackson was a desperate insomniac.

"Michael Jackson swallowed up to eight pills on his own, without telling his doctor. Michael Jackson self-administered an additional dose of propofol," Chernoff said on Sept. 27.

The testimony of toxicologist Dan Anderson might have cast doubt on the possibility of Jackson swallowing a lethal combination of pills and propofol.

The singer's stomach only had .13 milligrams of propofol in it, an amount that typically wouldn't be lethal.

Prosecutor David Walgren asked the toxicologist if that amount was "the equivalent of specks of sugar crystals from a one gram sugar packet you might see in a restaurant." Anderson agreed.

The amount of propofol in Jackson's blood, however, was far greater. Propofol is typically administered intravenously and in a hospital setting. If the drug was administered through an IV, it would show up in Jackson's blood.

In vials of blood taken from Jackson's dead body at the UCLA Medical Center, there was 4.2 micrograms of propofol present.

In addition to the toxicology report, prosecutors read the fingerprint analysis done on items found in the Jackson home. A bottle of propofol had Murray's left index fingerprint. Jackson's fingerprints were not on any of the items tested which included a syringe, two propofol bottles and two saline IV bags.

The fingerprint evidence was not all good news for prosecutors. Mystery fingerprints were found on both a cut saline bag and a propofol bottle that was found inside the bag.

The fingerprints found on both did not belong to Murray, Jackson, Jackson's bodyguard who claimed to have moved the IV bag, or any of the investigators or first responders.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coroner's Investigator Grilled by Conrad Murray's Lawyer at Trial

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Coroner's investigator Elissa Fleak returned to the stand Thursday at Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial, admitting that she did not conduct a "perfect investigation" when she collected evidence from Michael Jackson's bedroom after he died.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Ed Chernoff pushed the idea that Fleak made a number of mistakes during her investigation.  For example, he criticized Fleak for not photographing a bottle of the powerful anesthetic propofol inside an IV bag.  He also said she did not note that she'd found a bottle of propofol inside an IV bag until last March.

When Chernoff asked Fleak if she would agree that she made a substantial number of mistakes, she answered in the negative, but she told a prosecutor that she's never conducted a perfect investigation.

Later in the day, Dan Anderson, a supervising criminologist at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, said propofol, the sedative lorazepam, and other drugs were found in small amounts in Jackson's system at the time of his death.

Murray is accused of giving his patient Jackson a fatal dose of propofol prior to the singer's death in June of 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jackson's Bodyguard's Fingerprints Not Found on IV Bag

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The fingerprints of Michael Jackson’s bodyguard, Alberto Alvarez, are not on a saline bag that he testified to removing from an IV stand at Dr. Conrad Murray’s request, ABC News has learned.

The news could be trouble for prosecutors in Murray’s manslaughter trial. Prosecutors say that Murray was reckless in his care of Jackson and when it became clear that Jackson was in cardiac arrest, Murray took steps to cover up his alleged wrongdoing.

Alvarez told jurors last week that Murray asked him to remove vials of propofol and a saline bag hanging on an IV stand during the time that they were waiting for first responders to arrive at Jackson’s rented mansion.

Alvarez’s fingerprints were not on any vials either, sources told ABC News.

Alvarez said the bottle appeared to have a milky, white substance in it. Propofol, a powerful anesthetic, is sometimes referred to as “milk” by addicts. 

During cross-examination last week, defense attorneys tried to chip away at Alvarez’s claims that he had moved vials and a saline bag for Murray. Defense attorneys repeatedly questioned the bodyguard about why he never mentioned packing the vials and IV bag to police on the day Jackson died, but instead waited nearly two months to tell law enforcement.

Alvarez testified that news reports about the milky propofol sparked his memory and made him tell law enforcement.

In addition to the lack of Alvarez’s fingerprints on the saline bag and vials, ABC News has also learned from sources close to the investigation that Michael Jackson’s fingerprints were not on any of the vials of propofol found on Murray or in Jackson’s bedroom. 

The defense has claimed that Jackson himself took a lethal dose of propofol and another sedative without Murray’s knowledge on the day he died.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pharmacist: Conrad Murray Ordered Propofol, Bleaching Cream

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The manager of a specialty pharmacy testified Tuesday in the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial that Michael Jackson's doctor ordered 255 vials of the powerful anesthetic propofol and never revealed that the medicines were for Jackson.

"He asked me specifically to find pricing and availability of propofol and normal saline IV bags," said pharmacist Tim Lopez.

Lopez, the owner and pharmacist of the now shuttered Applied Pharmacy Services, said that Conrad Murray said the orders were for his medical practice in California.  The Santa Monica, Calif., address where Murray had hundreds of vials of propofol, sedatives, bleaching cream and IV bags delivered turned out to be the address of his girlfriend's apartment.

Murray's girlfriend Nicole Alvarez testified about receiving the packages and said that Murray only had medical practices in Texas and Nevada.

Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the overdosing death of Jackson.  Jackson died of a drug overdose of propofol on June 25, 2009, at age 50.

The pharmacist and the doctor first crossed paths in November 2008 when Murray called Lopez to inquire about skin bleaching cream, benequin, Lopez said.

"He was looking for a specific dermatological agent that is used for whitening of the skin …he mentioned that a lot of his patients were African American and they could use this medication," Murray said.

Murray told Lopez that his "patient base" was suffering from vitiligo.  Rumors that Jackson bleached his skin had long swirled around the singer.

The orders for bleaching cream spiraled into orders for IV bags, numbing cream, 255 vials of propofol, 20 vials of lorazepam and 60 vials of midazolam.  Lorazepam and midazolam are both sedatives.  Murray's defense team claims that Jackson gave himself a fatal combination of propofol and lorazepam without Murray's knowledge on the day he died.

ABC News has learned from sources close to the investigation that all propofol bottles found in Jackson's bedroom or on Murray did not have Jackson's fingerprints on them.  That revelation may deal a blow to the defense's theory.

Prosecutors argue that Murray recklessly administered propofol and other drugs to his patient, and that when he should have been monitoring Jackson, he was talking to his girlfriends on the phone.

Lopez testified that he heard from Murray on either June 23 or June 24, 2009, just days before Jackson died.

"The initial call was to the office and my clerk answered the phone … she had a hard time understanding what he was saying … I took the phone and again he was talking to me, but I couldn't really figure out what he was saying because there was a lot of noise in the background like an open window in the car," Lopez said.

Lopez hung up and the two never finished their conversation.

Lopez's testimony followed the testimony of three of Dr. Murray's girlfriends who told jurors that they exchanged phone conversations or text messages with Murray on the day Jackson died.

Nicole Alvarez, the 29-year-old mother of one of Murray's seven children, said she spoke to him while he was in the ambulance with Jackson.

"I remember him telling me that he was on the way to the hospital in the ambulance with Mr. Jackson and for me not to be alarmed … because he knew I would learn this through the news," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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